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Student Expression and Appearance

Students will be allowed to express their viewpoints and opinions as long as the expression is responsible. The expression will not, in the judgment of the administration, encourage the breaking of laws, defame others, be obscene or indecent, cause a material and substantial disruption to the educational program, or encourage students to violate school/District policies, regulations and procedures.

The administration, when making this judgment, will consider whether the activity in which the expression was made is school-sponsored and whether review or prohibition of the students’ speech furthers an educational purpose. Further, the expression must be done in a reasonable time, place, and manner that is not disruptive to the orderly and efficient operation of the District. Students will be permitted to distribute materials in designated areas before and after school and during the lunch period, as long as it does not create a disturbance, disrupt normal operations, or produce excess littering, and the material content does not violate reasonable standards of decency or advocate the violation of laws. Assembly of students will be allowed unless they are designed or may be reasonably expected to disrupt classes, interfere with school activities, or intrude upon the lives and rights of others. Materials concerning non-school events or activities shall be posted or distributed only with prior approval of the building principal/designee.

The District believes inappropriate student appearance causes material and substantial disruption to the school environment or presents a threat to the health and safety of students, employees and visitors. Students are expected to adhere to standards of cleanliness and dress that are compatible with the requirements of a good learning environment. The standards will be those generally acceptable to the community as appropriate in a school setting.
The District expects students to be clean and well-groomed and wear clothes in good repair and appropriate for the time, place, and occasion. Clothing or other apparel promoting products illegal for use by minors and clothing displaying content inappropriate for school-aged children, profanity, weapons, or reference to prohibited conduct are not allowed. While the primary responsibility for appearance lies with students and their parents/guardians, appearance disruptive to the education program will not be tolerated. When, in the judgment of a principal, a student’s appearance or choice of clothing disrupts the educational process or constitutes a threat to health or safety, the student may be required to make modifications or be subject to disciplinary action. The wearing of gang-related attire or insignia by students is prohibited.


Legal Reference:
U.S. Const. amend. I.
Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, 484 U.S. 260 (1988).
Bethel School District v. Fraser, 478 U.S. 675 (1986).
New Jersey v. T.L.O., 469 U.S. 325 (1985).
Tinker v. Des Moines Ind. Comm. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969).
Bystrom v. Fridley High School, 822 F.2d 747 (8th Cir. 1987).
Iowa Code §§ 279.8; 280.22

Cross Reference:
Regulation 604.1 “Maintenance of Orderly Conduct”
Regulation 604.2 “Bullying and Harassment of Students”

  • Approved: 02-14-78
  • Reviewed: 01-22-90
  • Revised: 03-12-90, 05-23-94
  • Reviewed: 11-23-98
  • Revised: 02-12-07, 06-23-14, 09-23-19
  • Documents: 603.1

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